How the Hula Girl Sings: A Novel

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ReganBooks, 2001 - Fiction - 290 pages
3 Reviews
""They gave me back my full Christian name and my own clothes and three miserable old Viceroy Golds. They gave me back my full name and the life I had lost, but still that baby carriage rolled on cold through my head. It rocked and wavered right past me as I wandered out of those penitent iron gates and back to being a sovereign man..."

Luce Lemay, fresh out of prison and ready to repent, can't catch a break in his old hometown. He returns from the pen to find that no one can seem to forget the tragic accident that left an infant dead and led to his incarceration. The girl he loves won't go near an ex-con, the only job he can get is pumping gas, and his days in jail haunt him in the form of an old nemesis who won't be satisfied until Luce's blood runs red and hot through his murderous fingers.

When a lovely waitress named Charlene finally begins to respond to Luce's diligent romantic overtures, he finally thinks he's been redeemed. But his happiness is short-lived. No one in town -- especially not Charlene's father -- approves of their relationship. To make matters worse, Charlene has an ex-fiance named Earl Peet who's none too pleased about her taking up with the convict son of a hog farmer. Earl shows his disapproval in typical thug fashion, but even after a couple of beatings, Luce just can't seem to stay away from sweet Charlene. His tenacity finally pushes Earl -- and the rest of the town -- to take shocking action. In a violent climax, Luce finds out just how far small-minded people are willing to go to protect narrow worldview.

In "How the Hula Girl Sings, Meno describes the ugly, unforgiving underbelly of the American dream with a voice as raw and visceral as adesperate cry for help in some godforsaken back alley. By turns achingly tragic and wholeheartedly hopeful, "How the Hula Girl Sings plumbs the depths of the schizophrenic American psyche and forces us all to confront the harsh realities and sublime potential of the human heart.

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User Review  - jamonitjj - Borders

Although I really enjoy Joe Meno's writing style, there was nothing that kept me from wanting more. I think part of the problem was that I would keep comparing it to "Hairstyles of the Damned" (which ... Read full review

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User Review  - AlbinoRhino - LibraryThing

The great thing about Joe Meno is that when he writes, he actually becomes the characters. The writing styles on all of his books have been vastly different, but they all still retain the poetic ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Joe Meno is an adjunct professor in the creative writing department of Columbia College.

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